National News

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The three largest public safety agencies in Ohio will no longer reveal positive coronavirus test numbers

The three largest public safety agencies in Franklin County will no longer release the number of personnel who have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the agencies said Monday. The Columbus Divisions of Fire and Police and the Franklin County sheriff’s office all cited consultations with legal counsel. “It has been determined that the impact of COVID-19 on staffing numbers is considered part of our critical infrastructure, and therefore protected information,” the sheriff’s office said in a release. Representatives of the police and fire divisions echoed the sheriff’s office stance. As of Sunday, the fire division had eight firefighters who had tested positive for the coronavirus. Of those, six were recovering at home, and two had returned to work after they were no longer considered contagious.
The Columbus Dispatch

’Sunset Solidarity’: Colorado police, firefighters to play bagpipes, drums at sunset each night

If you go outside at sunset, listen in the distance and you may hear something you don’t hear too often. Each night at dusk, bagpipes and drums will echo through neighborhoods across the country. "You should listen at sunset -- there are pipers and drummers all across the area," Thomas Johnson, a captain with Aurora Fire Department told FOX31. The movement is called “Sunset Solidarity” and encourages Scottish drummers and bagpipers to play outside their homes at sundown. “The pipes have a centuries-long tradition of inspiring courage and resolve to people in times of distress,” Johnson said. Johnson is a piper with the Colorado Emerald Society. The band is made up of first responders from 24 police and fire agencies across Colorado. Their primary mission is playing at line-of-duty death funerals for police and firefighters.
KDVR-TV FOX 31 Denver

Hairstylist, doctors play critical role in Ford’s coronavirus face shield design

Sometimes miracles happen because every little thing goes right. And people involved are smart and creative and fearless. This is the story of a hairstylist, a team of automotive prototype designers and a massive global company that in just a few days went from creating high-tech cars guided by artificial intelligence with the use of robots to old-fashioned built-by-hand assembly the way things were done back in the 1900s. It sounds like a Hollywood movie script. It was, in fact, real life in Detroit in the time of the novel coronavirus. Ford Motor executives issued a call to action March 19, after receiving an alert from the Mayo Clinic. Ford immediately assembled a task force to address the personal protective equipment shortage.
USA Today

Staten Island’s political delegation calls for line of duty death benefits for first responders, essential employees

In a joint letter, members of Staten Island’s political delegation today called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to work with relevant pension boards to ensure that first responders and other essential employees who die as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) be guaranteed contractual line-of-duty death benefit and payments. “There cannot be any uncertainty about death benefits as we are sending our first responders and essential workers into potential danger,” said Councilman Joe Borelli (R-South Shore). “We must at least take this stress off their shoulders.” The letter, signed by Borelli, Borough President James Oddo (R), Minority Leader Steven Matteo (R-Mid Island), and others, comes as the FDNY reported the busiest five days for the EMS in its history last week. The coronavirus has also deeply affected the NYPD, which has 930 employees who tested positive as of Monday.

President of International Association of Fire Chiefs Calls for Action

After the recent signing of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act by President Donald J. Trump, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) President, Fire Chief Gary Ludwig, expressed mixed emotions about the stimulus package. “While I am pleased that Congress and the President took action to help those who are suffering economically by allocating federal money for hospitals, law enforcement, educational institutions, airlines, and drug companies, I am extremely disappointed that federal funding desperately needed by the American fire and emergency medical services was largely overlooked,” Chief Ludwig said. Law enforcement agencies, by comparison, received $850 million in the stimulus bill versus only $100 million for the fire service.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Texas fire department implements TeleMedic program in response to COVID-19

The Rowlett Fire Department has a long history of providing innovative solutions to complex issues. Continuing that legacy of care and commitment to our community, the Rowlett Fire Department has implemented a TeleMedic program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. TeleMedic embraces current technology and allows the online one-on-one video assessment of non-critical patients to reduce the risk of provider- or patient-borne exposure to contagions. Accessed via FaceTime for Apple users or Google Duo for Android users, the Rowlett Fire Department staffs the program around the clock, seven days a week with a firefighter/paramedic. The program targets the approximately 80 percent of patients who contract COVID-19 and experience only mild symptoms of the illness.
Rowlett Lakeshore Times

Powerful video shows thousands of quarantined New Yorkers clapping for first responders, essential workers

At exactly 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evening, thousands of New Yorkers in quarantine stood on their porches and near their windows to applaud first responders and health care workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak. This powerful act of solidarity, which lasted several minutes, came about after a call on social media to #clapbecausewecare. "That gave me chills!" Chris Henken, who recorded video of the applause, tweeted. Accounting for nearly a quarter of the nation's COVID-19 cases, New York City is battling to keep its hospitals from being overwhelmed. Health care workers are already facing overcrowded emergency rooms, and a nurse recently died from coronavirus after working nonstop for weeks at a hospital The virus is also taking a toll on the New York City Police Department. More than 500 NYPD personnel have come down with COVID-19, including 442 officers, and two employees have died.
WABC-TV ABC 7 New York

Fire Department in Kentucky launches app to alert community, provide COVID-19 information

The Laurel County Fire Department has launched a new phone app this week that includes two sections pertaining to COVID-19. "To our knowledge it's one of the first ones in the area," said Laurel County Fire Chief Terry Wattenbarger. "We're the first emergency service to actually have a mobile app like that." Wattenbarger said the fire department's main focus with the app is public information. The Laurel County Fire Department will be able to send the public push notifications through the app, informing them of accidents, fires, and other emergencies happening within the Laurel County Fire Department's service area. "We can't push every callout that we get, but we do work a major part of the interstate," explained Wattenbarger.
The Times-Tribune

Coronavirus Florida: Palm Beach County firefighters poised to loan ambulance ventilators to hospitals

Chief Diana Matty has heard the cries of doctors across the country: They need ventilators. As Palm Beach County braces for a potential spike in coronavirus cases, the West Palm Beach fire chief has coordinated efforts with the county’s 10 other fire departments to let hospitals know they are poised to loan ventilators, should the need arise. Together, the departments have about 70 ventilators available to loan to hospitals to help treat patients with the respiratory virus, said Matty, who also serves as president of Palm Beach County Fire Chiefs Association. “It’s a stopgap measure in a time of crisis,” she said. The ventilators are simple versions of high-tech machines at hospitals, “a rotary phone in a world of iPhones,” she said.
The Palm Beach Post

Wisconsin fire department’s Mobile Integrated Health home visits turning into virtual visits due to COVID-19

A program conducting home visits with vulnerable patients after they have been checked out of the hospital is doing its best to go online, both for the sake of the paramedics and patients. Racine’s Mobile Integrated Health program went into a trial phase in the fall of 2018 and was fully implemented in 2019. Paramedics with the Racine Fire Department underwent training on how to carry out home visits to patients who had recently been discharged from the hospital. The goal of the program is to ensure the patients are following their discharge instructions, taking their medications and watching for any red flags of circumstances that could risk that person needing to return to the hospital. Brian Wolf, the Fire Department’s division chief of professional standards and head of the MIH program, said that because of the COVID-19 outbreak, most of the those check-ins and other services to help with recovery are now being done over the phone, sometimes with video chat or online.
The Journal Times

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